South Australia’s Jessica Trengove has run an Olympic qualifier in her debut marathon in Nagoya, Japan.
A consistent 72 minute half-marathoner over the past few years, 24-year-old Trengove finished 14th to record a time of 2:31:02. The performance was well under the Olympic A-qualifier of 2:37:00, as well as Athletics Australia’s stricter selection standard of 2:32:00, and is likely to see her selected alongside Benita Willis and Lisa Weightman for the London Olympics.
Russia’s Albina Mayorova won the race in 2:23:52.
Trengrove’s performance brings the number of Australians to qualify for the marathon to eight (4 men and 4 women), however due to Athletics Australia setting a stricter qualifying standard for the marathon it is possible that only the women will be represented by a full contingent of three athletes. All men other than Commonwealth Games silver medallist Michael Shelley, who has met Athletics Australia’s 2:12:00 qualifying as well as the IAAF’s 2:15:00 standard, are expected to race again prior to the May selectors meeting on the advice of Athletics Australia’s High Performance Manager, Eric Hollingsworth.
For Martin Dent, who was 23 seconds outside the AA standard of 2:12:00 in December, this will mean running three marathons in less than nine months should he ultimately be selected for London, while for number three ranked Jeff Hunt, London will be his third outing in little over six months if selected.
The hardline enforcement of the arbitrarily reduced selection standard is in stark contrast with previously inspired use of selectors discretion in the event: Steve Moneghetti made his marathon debut at the 1986 Commonwealth Games having never raced a marathon before, while Lisa Weightman was 22 seconds outside the Athletics Australia standard for the Beijing Olympics, but ultimately selected. Interestingly, Moneghetti is now a national selector, while Weightman holds a position on the Athletics Australia Board by way of being Chair of the Athlete’s Commission.
Athletics Australia’s nominations to the Australian Olympic Committee in the marathon will be announced by 14 May.
Courtesy of InsideAthletics.com.au: http://www.insideathletics.com.au.